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Evil - 3 Stars - Review

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1.3 - “3 Stars”
Written by Rockne O'Bannon
Directed by Gloria Muzio
Reviewed by KathM

This week we learned about the six types of possession, that Kristen is a huge theater geek, found out that Ben’s sister might have a secret baby (or something), and that David is super good at Photoshop. And oh yes, Kristen scores a win against Leland.

Patti is what the Monsignor calls a “good parishioner”, which I guess means that she’s in the front pew every week, in the confessional at least monthly and doesn’t ignore the collection plate. So her concerns must be taken seriously Her boss, she is sure, is possessed. For those of you playing at home her description of his behavior puts him in the Diabolical Obsession category of possible possession. Patti is sure that, despite normally being an abrasive, demanding, emotionally abusive jerk whose hobbies include firing personal assistants he really is possessed. More so than usual. She even presents the gang with a video of said boss sweating blood. And when he walks into a room the temperature drops, so bring a sweater or light jacket along to the office.

It all started six months ago when he failed to win a Tony. Can they help her, or at least take a look at him? His name is Byron Duke, and he’s…

Cue Kristen’s theater nerd! It just popped right out of her. One minute she’s listening to Patti’s story in a calm, professional manner, and the next minute her face lights up and seems like she may swoon. She loves his shows and she and the girls saw his Roald Dahl musical last year and, well, for that reason alone I think Team Science is off to see the Wizard. Um, producer.

Regardless of whether his character is actually possessed, John Glover was the perfect choice for this role. Byron’s manic energy and broad characterization are pitch perfect. He manages to be funny and slightly menacing at the same time. Patti thinks he’s possessed? Fine, he says. Toss some holy water at him and call it a day. His reaction when David refers to the Tony as “an award” was magical: for a minute I thought Byron was going to bludgeon him to death. But no, nothing like that. Kristen informs Patti that Byron has Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Ben tells her that the blood he was sweating was merely an infection from his hair plugs (not that Byron has hair plugs. Just ask him). Their work is done and as they are preparing to leave when Kristen happens to notice Byron strangling an imaginary or possibly invisible (to us) person called Joe. Ah yes, Joe.

Joe is Byron’s Virtual Assistant, he’s the one who tells Byron a lot more than just the time in Iceland and where the best Pad Thai can be found on the Upper West Side. Joe knows all kinds of things about everyone present, things they’d never mentioned in its presence. It addresses the team personally and matter-of-factly confirms that Byron will, in fact, be going to hell, and then proceeds to tell them how far hell is from their current location. Ben is thrilled because surely this must all be hacking, so he comes up with a plan to disrupt the signal from the hacker and thereby set Joe free. But when he tries, nothing happens. He asks David to disconnect Joe so Ben can take him home and study him. The next part is fabulous: when David pulls the plug on Joe sounds like screaming bats and the doomed from hell emanated from it. Brilliant.

Ben enlists the help of his equally (or possibly more) brilliant sister Karima to try and hack or backhack or something Joe to see what his deal is. Not only does Joe prove impervious to their attempts but suddenly he starts chatting out of their father’s Virtual Assistant in the kitchen!!! What? Fortunately dad is asleep upstairs. Ben and Karima think that they know what’s going on but are unable to fix it. However, David finds out that Byron didn’t pay his tech support because he wanted to see how it worked first, and so he and Ben set up a trap for “In Beta We Trust”, a guy who maybe looks fifteen. He admits he messed with Joe, but that he’d stopped days ago. Everyone ignores the fact that Joe was still proselytizing Byron’s trip to the Underworld extended after Beta stopped but they consider the case closed, anyway. When Ben stops by Karima’s to tell her, he finds her in a screaming match with their father’s VA (in I think Farsi?). It tells her that “Nicholas” has her baby, and she continues arguing with it until Ben wants to know what’s all this about a baby??? Karima runs out of the room in tears and Ben throws the VA into a passing garbage truck.

David also gets some time of his own. He consults Father Amara, whose job description includes exorcisms (three in the next two weeks alone). I wonder who is investigating these cases and determining the need for exorcism, but I guess there are a lot more teams than just Team Science. David also tells Amara that he’s had another “vision”. Going forward, we are going to call them what they are, trips. David saw something while he was tripping. Now we may proceed.

He asks about “the Sixty”, which he thinks is about Evil getting organized. Father Amara tells him to write about what he saw to try and understand the vision/trip better. David decides to draw instead, managing to fight the Leland (temptation?) in his head throughout the process. Now he has an image of a person with long hair who looks vaguely familiar. Three guesses! Kristen supplies the name of the artist and the name of the painting, and David does some googling to see what he can see. Somehow he figures out that some of the roman numerals in the painting are actually longitude and latitude coordinates, then proceeds to create this extremely cool image using a map of the US and layering it underneath the image of three white dots inside the crystal ballish thing Jesus is holding in his hand. I am insanely jealous, as I have no patience with Photoshop. But now he has a wonky triangle linking NYC, DC, and Chicago, if you follow the dots. How do they fit together, and does it have something to do with the Sixty? I’m thinking November Sweeps Roadtrip.

Meanwhile, back at the courthouse, Leland is messing things up for a young offender who Kristen had already worked with and advised the court should be tried as a juvenile. Not so, says Leland, and tosses out some psychology jargon about the MMPI. Kristen enters the courtroom to support the mother of the defendant, Adam, and see what happened. Leland gets one look at her and the Smirk of Doom appears on his lips. Just a little one, though. Barely perceptible.

When the DA asks Leland why his conclusion is so very different from Kristen’s, Leland says that Kristen was too emotionally involved and, according to some of her therapy notes that are floating around, emotionally unstable. After hearing that Kristen heads for the defense attorney, asking to help. Not to testify, since Leland tainted her credibility, but to get Leland like he got her. It’s on.

Later that evening Kristen chases Leland down and demands her therapy notes back, which he refuses. And why is he so intent on putting Adam in an adult prison? It will make him more susceptible, Leland tells her. She should ask David about that, he purrs. Adam is wet clay right now, and adult prison will help to mold him. He won’t be a kid after the second time he’s assaulted, Leland says matter-of-factly. We all shudder. His bluntness is part of what makes Leland Leland, and his deadpan delivery makes his words sound all the more chilling.

Kristen has recorded him, though, and thinks she has the upper hand until she realizes that somehow Leland has blocked everything he said. She hears her voice, but his is just static. NOW what should she do? Ben to the rescue! He can deepfake Leland’s part of the conversation if Kristen remembers what he said. She does, Ben deepfakes it, and Leland is discredited on the stand. Adam will still go to prison, but not adult prison. Kristen for the win!

But did she win, really? None of them have gone up against Leland hard like that before and managed to humiliate him (and block his endgame), especially in public. Kristen tells him that technology is a bitch and Leland shouts at as she walks away that she should be home caring for the girls. You never want to hear Leland refer to anything you love, ever. Kristen may have won this week, but I’m sure she’ll pay for it soon enough.

Which brings us back to Byron. He’s mellowed quite a bit since the reason for his “possession” was unearthed, even accepting a blueberry muffin instead of his usual lemon poppyseed without firing anyone.

Patti is gushing about how well he’s doing on a call with David when Byron gets an IM from Joe telling him that, “Hell is only half full”. As Patti continues to ramble on Byron very calmly walks out of his office and jumps from the balcony. Nobody seems to notice.

Looks to me like we have a trade: Byron’s soul because Leland lost his chance to mold Adam by getting him into an adult prison.

It would seem that this particular brand of Evil may be a zero-sum game.

PS - It was good to see Ben and Kristen interact a little more. They have a chemistry, but more along the line of potentially good friends and not all possibly sweaty like we have between Kristen and David. He seems amused by her, and not in a condescending way. It’s like he’s watching her change from a wallflower to someone more assertive as she settles into her place on the team.

PPS - What did you think of the conversation Kristen and David had regarding his feelings about the Catholic Church’s stance on a number of issues and joining the priesthood? I just can’t buy that David will ever be a priest; I think he’s just hiding.

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